Shape + Foster: How a personal growth community was created from an anxiety attack

In 2009, I started my own events marketing agency – Fervent Events. I started the business with $4,000 and not much of a plan, just an urge to be my own boss and make something happen. My first six months in business I worked in a call centre 6-hours per day then at home on my new business for 6-hours per day.
Fast forward to 2019 and the company was pulling in $4-million in annual revenue and was named twice on the “Growth 500,” Canada’s Fastest Growing companies list. On paper, things were great, a successful business that I had built up – but I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. I feel like I have more of a purpose than to simply ‘market or sell stuff,’ some of which, to be honest, people don’t need or preys on impulse buyers.
On a personal level, my home life was great, but there were cracks. My wife and I welcomed our first son in 2016. With kids, you do start to socialize less, that’s just part and parcel of it. However, although socializing less, my nights started to get bigger. I probably got home at 2-4 a.m. more in Malcolm’s first three years than the 10 years previous. I would tell myself “I don’t go out as much anymore,” but in reality, when I did it was more excessive. Eventually, it all came to a head.
In June 2019, Malcolm had his first toddler’s rugby day, something I had been looking forward to. It was a Sunday and the night before had been a late night. On a few hours sleep I drove him to rugby and had an anxiety attack at the wheel. I was sweating profusely, gasping for breath. When I got to rugby, the other parents were bright-eyed and participating–how I had envisioned myself being. That was the catalyst of change for me. I started drinking less. I got back into the gym for the first time in seven years. I was more present, more active and so much happier with myself.
I’ve seen a tweet by Wiz Khalifa that says ‘I used to think staying out late was cool. Till I realized wakin up early is the real boss shit.’ I get more from Sunday 7 a.m. than I ever did Saturday at 4 a.m. Sounds cheesy, but it’s true.
Over the next few months, the concept of Shape + Foster was born. I thought about my own journey of personal development and how so much of it was dealt with retroactively and so many people are the same.
Wouldn’t it be great to work on yourself proactively? Learn from different pillars? And be part of a community whilst doing it? Shape + Foster is a lifestyle development app. You pay for a membership and in turn are taken on a 12-month journey of lifestyle development from six experts, each of whom have curated courses specifically for Shape + Foster. The six experts are in areas important to a healthy heart and healthy mind – mental health, life coach, fitness, nutrition, finance and yoga.
The six experts are in areas important to a healthy heart and healthy mind–mental health, life coach, fitness, nutrition, finance and yoga.
The key term is “Actionable Insight.” A member is going to be opened to knowledge that can impact their life by learning and forming habits as a result. The membership goes over the period of 12-months because it would be unrealistic to successfully improve on all these areas in only a few months. I think the slower-paced course will ensure longer lasting results and put less pressure on people to change everything immediately. 80% of people with New Year resolutions have ‘failed’ by February.
There’s a mission focus to the work, something that in the end was missing with Fervent. The main purpose is to be a positive influence on people and assist their well-being. And to continue to develop myself.
Shape + Foster takes members on a journey of personal development, providing knowledge and actionable insight via six amazing professionals in mental health, fitness, nutrition, finance, life coaching and yoga. All members are in the community for the same reason—to learn and grow.